With NFL free agency moves happening left and right, fantasy football speculations for 2019 are already coming into play.
Just recently, the fantasy football world received a huge scare when it was reported that Antonio Brown was being traded to the Buffalo Bills. Fortunately, that disaster was avoided. Though, is Brown’s fantasy outlook as an Oakland Raider any better?
That scenario prompts us to discuss the following 10 popular fantasy football stars who warrant a caution label for 2019.
1. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
It seems unfair to pick apart this now six-time Super Bowl champion. But in talking fantasy football, Brady’s production has been on the decline. He finished as the No. 14 quarterback in 2018 when he dumped single-digit fantasy points on his owners more than once. With the Patriots being good at winning games in general, it almost appears that Brady goes lax at times just to save his energy to make a strong postseason run. Plus, one of these days Father Time will catch up.
2. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen was a sweet surprise for those who drafted him in later rounds last year. He started out like a rock star and everyone wanted to trade for him. Then Theilen went M.I.A. towards fantasy playoffs, delivering single-digit point performances his last five games. Yuck. During this stretch, Thielen and quarterback Kirk Cousins developed some type of weird juju. Can we trust this pair to get fully into sync in 2019?
3. Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The NFL world is completely lit with commentary over the Jaguars signing Nick Foles to quite the astounding contract.
Nick Foles is getting a 4-year $88M deal with the Jaguars. He'll be making more per-year ($22M) than:
— Russell Wilson ($21.9M)
— Ben Roethlisberger ($21.9M)
— Philip Rivers ($20.8M)
— Cam Newton ($20.8M)
— Tom Brady ($20.5M)
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) March 11, 2019
Just because the Jags are going to be paying Foles elite quarterback money, it doesn’t mean he is a solid fantasy football pick right off the bat. First of all, look at his receivers. There is nobody around like a DeAndre Hopkins to boost Foles into a QB1 candidate. Next, Foles is a quarterback who has only started in 44 games over seven years. Yes, he last had a decent run in Philly. But, that success cannot be guaranteed on an overall, suspect Jags’ team.
4. Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
With much anticipation, Bell finally found a new team to call home. Prior to him sitting out the entire 2018 season, Bell was a solid fantasy pick, playing on a high-rolling Steelers offense. But now, Bell is a Jet, whose offense ranked 29th in 2018. His stock could easily plummet playing with a second-year quarterback — Sam Darnold — who threw 15 interceptions in his 13 games last year. Plus, we must remind everyone that Bell has not played a professional game since January of 2018. There could be some rust.
5. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers
The hype surrounding Garoppolo prior to the 2018 season was absolutely overwhelming. In fantasy, people picked this quarterback — who had only seven career starts — to lead their teams to victory. Unfortunately, Garoppolo’s season was cut short when he tore his ACL in Week 3. With only a sample sizing of fantasy results, can we really invest in Garoppolo to be a serviceable fantasy quarterback in 2019? It is worth noting that Jimmy G. averaged less than 250 passing yards in his three games played in 2018.
6. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders
Yes. Brown deserves a buyer beware label heading into 2019. Just because he is suiting up in black and silver versus Buffalo Bills’ blue, it doesn’t necessarily make him a slam-dunk top fantasy wideout. He now joins a Raiders offense that ranked 23rd worst in 2018. And, Brown’s new quarterback Derek Carr, is the same guy who managed to connect with Amari Cooper for one lousy score in six games, prior to Cooper’s trade. Brown is ultra-talented. But, his new offense is bound to trip up his fantasy value from time to time.
7. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fournette was a huge disappointment last season, leaving those who picked him in the first round, nearly empty-handed. It was not his fault that he spent much of the season battling injuries. But, Fournette’s injury-past creates a huge red flag moving forward. That, on top of the fact he averaged only 3.3 yards per carry in 2018, is worrisome. Then there is his potential to cause trouble on the field as well as with his own team, which makes for a bad vibe.
8. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley’s lack of usage and touches towards the end of 2018 and throughout this last postseason were downright frightening. After claiming he was finally feeling better after a late-season injury, Gurley sure didn’t look like himself on the field during the Rams’ playoffs. Were the Rams trying to mask what is now looking like a very concerning knee injury to Gurley? Now, Gurley is looking into receiving stem cell treatment for arthritis in his knee. Just a mere 24 years old, this All-Pro running back has averaged a whopping 307 touches per season since drafted in 2015. The Rams would be wise to temper his workload moving forward.
Rams running back Todd Gurley has arthritis in his knee, according to a source. Helps explain his limited usage in the playoffs.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 2, 2019
9. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
A huge blockbuster trade has landed former Giants receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., to the land of brown and orange. So, obviously, OBJ’s fantasy outlook for 2019 comes to mind. We know that Beckham gets a bit out of sorts when he is not the prime focus on offense. Though, opposing defenses are going to be all over him like a bad rash. This might prompt quarterback Baker Mayfield to look elsewhere more often than not. There are several mouths to feed on Cleveland’s offense, including Jarvis Landry who led the Browns with 149 targets in Mayfield’s rookie year. Beckham may not be the ball hog his fantasy drafters hope for this fall.
10. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
There is no denying that Jackson is super-exciting to watch on the field. He was effective enough to oust former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco out of his starting job. Though from a fantasy standpoint, Jackson is a lukewarm option in 2019. His rushing yards, for which he averaged nearly 100 per game in 2018, help. But as a passer, Jackson needs to develop. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes and threw for only six touchdowns versus three interceptions in his seven games played as a rookie. Plus, the Ravens are currently lacking any semblance of a WR1 for Jackson to throw to.